Favorable Ruling

The district court judge threw out the conviction, noting that the Nebraska law has no deadline for commencing an exempt school for the first time. He also said that the Thackers’ exempt homeschool had ample time to complete the 1,032 hours of instruction before the end of the school year—in accordance with the calendar they had provided to the NDE.

The state refused to accept the district court’s opinion and appealed. In an unusual twist, the Supreme Court of Nebraska decided to skip the intermediate court of appeals and took the case itself. In this procedural posture, the Thackers’ convictions cannot be reinstated, but the Supreme Court has demonstrated that it wishes to settle the legal issues raised by the case itself—once and for all.

You may read the state’s opening brief here, and our response brief here.

Vigilance Required

This case demonstrates that we need to be ever-vigilant in defending homeschooling freedom. Please join us in praying for favor with the Supreme Court on behalf of the Thackers and homeschoolers in Nebraska.

Our efforts to defend families like the Thackers would not be possible without the support of our members. If you are not already a member, please consider joining HSLDA to stand with the Thacker family. Or please consider supporting our ongoing work in advancing the cause of freedom by making a tax-deductible donation to the Homeschool Freedom Fund.

This article ran originally on HSLDA. Used with permission.

Senior Counsel Jim Mason is a member of HSLDA’s litigation team. He and his wife homeschool.

Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.

Publication date: January 23, 2013